Richmond gets 1st bill past House

It may not go down in history as a landmark piece of legislation, but HR 4812 nonetheless represents a milestone for U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans: It’s the first bill he’s sponsored to pass the House of Representatives.

Called the Honor Flight Act, the measure directs the federal Transportation Security Administration to devise a system for “expedited and dignified” airport security screening for military veterans taking charity flights to visit war memorials honoring their service.

The bill passed the House on a voice vote Tuesday and now moves to the U.S. Senate.

In his two terms in Congress, Richmond, 40, has served as lead sponsor on several other bills, but none of them has made it out of committee, the first stop for legislation. Richmond’s status as a member of the Democratic minority in the House makes the task of advancing legislation more difficult.

The bill takes its name from the Honor Flight Network, a nonprofit organization that flies veterans to visit memorials honoring them, such as the World War II Memorial in Washington. The organization concentrates on the most senior vets.

The bill was filed by Richmond in June with co-sponsors Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.; and Republicans Richard Hudson, of North Carolina; Michael McCaul, of Texas; and Steven Polazzo, of Mississippi.

It was sent to the full House from the Homeland Security Committee, which includes Richmond as a member.